X

Valero Texas Open 2022: J.J. Spaun Earns 1st Career PGA Tour Win

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 4, 2022

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Before the golf world's attention turned toward the Masters, J.J. Spaun had to win the first PGA Tour title of his career.

Spaun won the 2022 Valero Texas Open in San Antonio with a three-under 69 in Sunday's final round. The performance brought his tournament score to 13 under, which was good enough to outlast Matt Kuchar and Matt Jones by two strokes.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

First career win and an invite to the Masters! 🏆 <a href="https://twitter.com/JJSpaun?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JJSpaun</a> is victorious <a href="https://twitter.com/valerotxopen?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ValeroTxOpen</a>. <a href="https://t.co/PdwErsy9j4">pic.twitter.com/PdwErsy9j4</a>

Here is a look at the top of the leaderboard, which can be found in full on the PGA Tour's official website.

1. J.J. Spaun, -13

T2. Matt Jones, -11

T2. Matt Kuchar, -11

T4. Adam Hadwin, -10

T4. Troy Merritt, -10

T4. Charles Howell III, -10

T4. Beau Hossler, -10

While many of the sport's biggest names were not in contention, Sunday figured to bring a thrilling finish considering how Saturday's third round ended.

Spaun, Brandt Snedeker, Beau Hossler and Dylan Frittelli were tied for the lead at 10 under heading into the fourth and final round, while Scott Stallings was just one stroke back after bogeying his final hole Saturday.

Snedeker and Hossler also had plenty of momentum after they each shot a five-under 67 in the third round.

Yet that momentum didn't help Snedeker much, who failed to string together any birdies and fell out of contention with bogeys on Nos. 5 and 9.

He wasn't the only one who stalled out in the front nine, as bogeys for Stallings on Nos. 4, 6 and 13, to go with a lack of consistent birdies, dropped him from a spot where he could reasonably challenge the top of the leaderboard as well.

Hossler was more of a challenger than they were, although a bogey on No. 10, an ugly double bogey on the par-five 14th and a critical missed birdie putt on the 17th removed him from serious striking distance.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

From 2 back to 4 back.<br><br>Beau Hossler takes an unplayable and makes double after hitting it over the green at the 14th. <a href="https://t.co/LrPAr3XKma">pic.twitter.com/LrPAr3XKma</a>

Final-round struggles weren't the story for everyone, though, as Jones wasted no time becoming a factor in the race for the title with five birdies and no bogeys on the front nine. Even though he dropped shots with bogeys on Nos. 11 and 16, he still birdied the 14th, 15th and 17th while finishing at 11 under.

Had he not shot a three-over 75 in the second round, Jones may have taken home the trophy.

Adam Hadwin was also left wondering what could have been if his late charge started earlier. He birdied five of the final seven holes but didn't have enough time to overcome his three bogeys in the first 10 as Spaun gradually seized control.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Birdie<br>Par<br>Birdie<br>Birdie<br>Par<br>Birdie<br><br>After making double at the 1st, <a href="https://twitter.com/JJSpaun?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JJSpaun</a> has the lead to himself 💪 <a href="https://t.co/OcHybxTxJm">pic.twitter.com/OcHybxTxJm</a>

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Cruise control <br><br>The lead is now 2 for <a href="https://twitter.com/JJSpaun?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JJSpaun</a>. <a href="https://t.co/91Xh2GzLgJ">pic.twitter.com/91Xh2GzLgJ</a>

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Redemption after the bounce off the microphone 🎤 <a href="https://t.co/UvRblRNbcw">pic.twitter.com/UvRblRNbcw</a>

The 31-year-old seemed poised to do anything but earn his first career PGA Tour victory when he three-putted the first hole on his way to a double bogey.

Yet it was nothing but consistency from there before he caught fire around the turn with birdies on Nos. 6, 8, 9 and 11. Throw in a timely birdie on the same par-five 14th that Hossler double-bogeyed, and it was clear who was going to win the Valero Texas Open down the stretch.

To Kuchar's credit, he applied some late pressure with a birdie on the 17th after also posting birdies on the 12th and 14th. That not only moved him into a temporary tie for second place, but it also put him in position for one final charge on the 18th facing a two-stroke deficit and a second shot from the fairway after Spaun hit a poor drive.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Drive the green ✔️<br>Two-putt birdie ✔️<br><br>Matt Kuchar heads to the par-5 18th two back. <a href="https://t.co/7vvWskKFXi">pic.twitter.com/7vvWskKFXi</a>

Unfortunately for the veteran, his attempt at the green on the second shot of that par-five 18th ended up in the water and all but clinched the championship for Spaun.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.